Best Memory Strategies for Studying
Tests and examinations are easily the worst part of the schooling experience for many students worldwide. For most students, no nightmare is bigger than preparing for assessments.
Not only do you have to remember every word, term, process, type, function, definition, etc., but you must also be able to present them correctly to the examiner.
The thought of doing all these things certainly tightens knots in one’s stomach. But it doesn’t have to be so.
Here are the best memory strategies for all students who want to improve their memories.
Create the Proper Study Environment
There is no universal definition for “the right study environment.” What constitutes the perfect study environment for A. may not work for B. However, most people prefer to study in quiet, calm environments.
You can decide what works best for you, whether to be in a quiet secluded place or a library full of other people. In fact, some people concentrate best when they have their headphones on.
The environment also applies to your own state of mind. If there is a psychological barrier stopping you from assimilating, you must first take care of it before studying. Being well-rested, properly nourished, and free from distractions does wonders to your memory.
Practice, Repeat and Review
Before every exam or test, you have all the information you need to ace the assessment. So, what you need is to etch at least 80 percent of the course content in your brain before the exams.
Rote rehearsals and repetitions will help you achieve this easily. These processes involve repeating terms and concepts to yourself until you recall them at the drop of a hat.
The best thing about this process is that you can do it anywhere, anytime.
As you continue the process, some terms or concepts can become confusing. Just go back to your notes and do a quick review!
Use Visual Aids
Pictures, graphs, sketches, charts, and color-coded notes can make so much difference when you are preparing for an assessment.
This is because it is easier for our brain to process images than endless sentences and paragraphs. So, pay more attention to the visual aids in your notes and textbooks. If they are not available, you can create some yourself. The process will further help to etch the information in your brain. You can also color-code segments of your notes; it’s fun, easy, and quite helpful.
Make Connections to Past Experiences
There are many past experiences that we never have any problem recalling. In fact, these memories will often pop into our minds at the strangest times.
Well, it’s time to put them to good use. Since they have made an indelible mark on our memories, anything we connect to them will also be unforgettable.
So, while reading, try to connect some difficult parts of your notes to these experiences, and you will have no difficulty recalling them in the exam hall.
Group Related Concepts and Terms
Another great way to improve your memory is by grouping closely related terms and concepts and studying them together.
For example, if you are learning a language, you can study the forms of greeting at the same time before moving to other aspects.
When you remember one or two members of a group, it would be easy to recall other members.
Acronyms are a great tool for recalling even the broadest definitions and terms.
Instead of having sixteen words with ninety or a hundred letters, you will have an acronym that is easy to assimilate and recall.
Acronyms make it easy to remember the first letters of a group of words and, by association, all other letters.
If you can properly explain a concept to another person, there is no way that concept is ever leaving your brain.
As you teach others, you would be forced to perfect what you have read to answer their questions.
In addition, you will easily be able to recall how you explained the concept when you need to explain it again in the exam hall.
You can also create suitable stories for what you have learned. Stories are entertaining, and it is quite easy to recall them.
If you are a student that puts off studying until the very last minute, you don’t need a soothsayer to tell you what the problem is.
Your reading habit is the problem. Instead of waiting until the very last minute, please plan ahead and familiarize yourself with every topic as you treat them in class.
For example, if a course has ten units in total, you can spread your reading over ten weeks and take a unit per week.
This way, by the time the exams roll around, you will be adequately prepared. But to achieve this, you start preparing for the exams immediately after the semester begins.
You know how easy it is to recall jokes, riddles, and other fun activities. You can incorporate all these things into your study routine.
Try making a concept look ridiculously funny, and you will easily be able to recall it during and after your exams.
Additional Memory Improvement Tips
Apart from these simple strategies, there are some other exercises you can add to your routine to improve your memory.
Whether you are preparing for an exam or not, these are simple exercises that can sharpen your cognitive processes and make it easier for you to read and assimilate.
These processes include:
- Doing simple arithmetic in your head
- Solving puzzles
- Teaching others
- Learning new routes to school, work, or your home
- Improving your vocabulary
- Learning a new skill or language
- Listening to music
- Counting Backwards
Students can use many memory strategies while preparing for examinations to ensure they never forget what they have learned.
The brain is a complex organ, but you can give it a nudge in the right direction, so it does more for you.